Diane Mitsch Bush

House Representative

District 26:




Email Me


Call Me:

(970) 291-1572

April Greetings to Everyone in Eagle County and Routt County!


It is a wet spring in our beautiful mountain headwaters district! Down here at the Capitol, we have just over two weeks left before our May 11 adjournment sine die and much work to do!

Yours for a just, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous Colorado for all.



Diane Mitsch Bush


Colorado State House of Representatives,

District 26-Eagle County and Routt County

P.O. Box 770535

Steamboat Springs, CO 80477




Late March and the first two weeks in April were busy and productive: we passed a balanced, bipartisan budget that now awaits final Senate approval, then the Governor's signature. We, in the House, passed the 2016 School Finance Act and sent it to the Senate.


The FY2016-2017 Budget: Balanced and Bipartisan

From March 28-April 1, the House considered HB1405, the FY2016-2017 Budget, AKA “The Long Bill”, and several related bills.



The Joint Budget Committee has worked for months to present the General Assembly with our constitutionally required balanced budget. With very little breathing room, the committee passed a budget that managed to:

  • Increase K-12 per-pupil average spending by $112 to $7,425
  • Avert a possible $20 million cut to higher education
  • Set $150 million in transfers to the state’s highway fund
  • Maintain the statutory 6.5 percent budget reserve
  • Avoid cuts to payment rates for medical providers


On April 15, the Joint Budget Committee adopted a Senate amendment for suicide prevention funding while also preserving the Air Pollution Control Division’s ability to protect clean air in Colorado. The compromise included a much more moderate cut to the division at $111,652 instead of the originally proposed $8 million cut which allows the division to continue protecting our air. On Friday, April 15 the House passed the JBC Conference Committee Report on the budget, then we re-passed the bill with the bipartisan, compromise amendments, balancing the budget.


It is headed to the Governor’s desk. I am proud that we were able to achieve a balanced budget within such limiting constraints while still finding funding for much-needed programs that make life better for all Coloradans.


FY 2016-2017 School Finance Act HB1422: waiting to be calendared in the Senate

After working on the budget, the next week we passed HB16-1422, the annual school finance act. It passed 46-18 and I am a cosponsor. The School Finance Act keeps the "negative factor" flat at $831 million, provides some help for smaller, rural districts, and increases the per pupil amount by an average of $112 per student. “It is really exciting news that we don’t have to increase the negative factor and we get to increase school funding,” Rep. Hamner (D- Dillon) Chair of the JBC, told the House. Rep. Rankin (R-Carbondale) added, “We pulled off, really, miracles to avoid a major cut this year."


Co-sponsored bills: I have supported my colleagues in their efforts to expand the availability of child care assistance for working families, to cushion the "Cliff Effect”, provide workforce training and assistance, allow patients the ability to choose their pharmacy, fund emergency responses at abandoned hard rock mine sites that are polluting our waterways, correct an agency error that left off the tax check off for healthy rivers, and a bill to allow residential rainwater collection.


I voted no on SB011 that would have eliminated $15 million in funding for public transit, thereby ending both the Bustang service and critical funding for all our local transit agencies throughout the state, and other bills that would have eroded the integrity of our state agencies.



My Bills are in Various Stages:



Signed into Law


HB1018 with Rep. Teri Carver (R-Colorado Springs) improves communication between the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC) and the Colorado Transportation Commission. The governor signed this bipartisan bill on March 2, 2016.


HB1259 with Rep. Jim Wilson (R-Salida) addresses four issues identified by Colorado Mountain College and Aims Community College: Removing references to “Junior college” in statute, permitting their Boards of Directors to expand from 5 or 7 members to 9 or 11 members, allowing electronic action to be taken by the board while still complying with the State’s Open Meetings and Sunshine Laws, and clarifications to tax law regarding adding to the college’s taxing district. HB 1259 passed with bipartisan votes out of the House and Senate. Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill on April 21..





Awaiting the Governor's signature


SB145 Rep. Yeulin Willet (R-Mesa County) and I are the House Co-prime sponsors for SB145 that clarifies statute for the Colorado River District in an effort to make the creation of sub districts less bureaucratic. SB16-145 is awaiting the Governors signature.




SJM 001 with Rep. Don Coram (R-Montose) to urge the US Congress to pass the long- languishing Good Samaritan legislation to allow third parties with expertise and funding to clean up continuously leaking abandoned hard rock mining sites without fear of lawsuits. This resolution specifically adds that any such remediation must follow strict environmental guidelines. The House unanimously adopted SJM 001 (resolutions do not require the Governor's signature).


Bills that have passed the House and Senate and are awaiting Concurrence


SB021 I am the House co-prime sponsor with Rep. KC Becker (D-Boulder) for Senator Donovan's bill to establish an annual day to recognize our public lands for the contributions they make for our wildlife, recreation quality of life, and our economy. This bill passed in different versions in the House and the Senate, so it is going to a conference committee.


HB 1336 As a Co-sponsor I have worked with Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon) and Rep. Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale) to help address the problem of our mountain counties being saddled with the highest insurance premiums in the nation. The bill directs the Colorado Commissioner of Insurance to study the impact on health insurance premium rates if Colorado were to create one geographic rating area instead of the current system, which has several. I have been working with the Insurance Commissioner since fall 2013 and in January 2016 with a group of Mountain County Commissioners, led by Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs and Eagle County Commissioners Jill Ryan and Kathy Chandler-Henry, joined by Routt County Commissioners Doug Monger and Tim Corrigan, we have put this bill forward. Senator Kerry Donovan (D-Wolcott) is the Senate sponsor. The Bill has passed the House and the Senate, and the House concurred with Senate amendments on April 25.


HB 1354 the Debt Free Schools Act with Rep. Jon Becker (R-Ft. Morgan) passed the House with a 53-12 vote. The bill allows schools districts to go to their voters to ask for a property tax mill levy to set up a capital fund that could accrue interest and build value indefinitely so that a district could "pay cash as they go" rather than enduring the burden of large debt service payments. The bill passed the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support, and is up for Concurrence in the House on April 27.



Bills in the House


HB1437 with Rep. Jim Wilson (R- Salida) strengthens and clarifies enforcement mechanisms that law enforcement are able to use for drivers who violate the school bus stop sign arm law. This piece of legislation aims to reduce these infractions that are endangering our kids. The bill will be heard in the House Transportation Committee on April 20 and if it passes, will head to the House floor for consideration.



Waiting for a hearing date in the House Appropriations Committee


HB1194 with Rep. Jon Becker (R-Ft. Morgan) helps to remove financial obstacles for beginning farmers and ranchers by providing a short-term tax deduction to those that lease out agricultural assets, such as land and equipment, to farmers and ranchers entering the industry. The bill passed unanimously out of the House Agriculture Committee on February 22nd and with 1 no vote in House Finance Committee On Wednesday March 16. It is in the long line to be heard in House Appropriations.



Bills killed in the Senate Transportation Committee:


HB1039 with Rep. Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale) would have reduced road closures and delays on the I-70 mountain corridor by requiring passenger vehicles to have adequate tires or chains or alternate traction devices on their vehicles from Oct. 1 - May 15 between Dotsero and Morrison. It passed the House 46-18 with strong support from the I-70 Coalition, CDOT, Colorado State Patrol, truckers, Club 20, and many businesses and business groups from all over the state. Police chiefs and paramedics emphasized how this bill would increase public safety for all drivers and for the peace officers and first responders that rely on the I-70 Mountain Corridor. It was killed on a party line vote in the Senate Transportation Committee, Chaired by Senator Baumgardner, on March 24.


HB1067 sought to allow Regional Transportation Authorities, such as the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, to ask their voters to extend the Mill Levy sunset from 2019 to 2029 to fund additional transportation projects within the RTA. It would have provided stability for RTA’s as they pay off debts and pay for improvement projects such as bus replacements and capital investments. The bill passed out of the House but was defeated in the Senate Transportation Committee, Chaired by Senator Baumgardner, March 8 on a party-line vote.


I will continue to work across the aisle for legislation that makes life better for all Coloradans. I am honored and humbled to work with you and for you and for everyone in our beautiful, headwaters district!



I am honored and humbled to represent you in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Check out the latest articles about my work:


On the Senate Vote to Kill HB17-1242:
Steamboat Today
The Denverite
The Aurora Sentinel
On the Senate Vote to Kill HB17-1235:
The Vail Daily
The Summit Daily


Have a question for me?

Please do not hesitate to contact me:

or at (970) 291-1572



I am on the floor of the House or in Committee meetings most of the time Monday-Friday, but my wonderful Legislative Aide Selina Najar can help you.



On Tuesday's and Thursday's, Julianna Smolka, our CSU Legislative Intern will be in our office as well.



Join my CO House of Representatives Weekly Bill Tracking Mailing List to stay up to date with what bills will be heard each week!

Email my Aide Selina

 to be added!



Mark Your Calendars!

Saturday, April 22--Basalt Town Hall with Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Summit/Pitkin Counties) at the

Basalt Regional Library at 11am


Thursday, May 11--Eagle Town Hall in the Eagle County Building's County Room at 5pm


Friday, May 12--Steamboat Springs Town Hall at the Bud Werner Memorial Library at 5pm




Paid for by Citizens to Elect Diane Mitsch Bush for Colorado HD 26  •  Tessa Kirchner, Treasurer  •  ©2012-2016 Diane For Colorado

April Greetings to Everyone in Eagle County and Routt County!


It is a wet spring in our beautiful mountain headwaters district! Down here at the Capitol, we have just over two weeks left before our May 11 adjournment sine die and much work to do!